Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 12:45 PM EST.
Pittsburgh +153 over ST. LOUIS
8:15 PM EST. If anyone in the group has any good reason not to put the pedal to the metal and continue to fade the Cardinals today, speak now, or…….We kid, of course, as we’re not about to let up on here on our attack on the Red Birds. This team is a mess, yet the prices to back them remain high because market perception is that the Pirates are in a constant cycle of rebuilding while the Cards are perennial NL Central contenders.
Taking the bump for St. Louis today is Kwang-Hyun Kim (LHP - STL), who has been struggling with a sore back all season. Dude has started two games since his last IL stint and while he’s only given up two runs over 10 innings, he punched out just two in his last start against the Braves. This 12-year KBO veteran hung a gaudy ERA in first taste of MLB action and this year it’s good also at 3.60 but his xERA tells a very different story. Dude arrived with a hyped slider, but it garnered just a 12% swing and miss rate. Low velocity, subpar swing and miss rate and K% across all offerings put a firm cap on his upside. Expect a hard sophomore slump toward xERA of 4.89 the rest of the way. Incidentally, we have written about the Cards bottom ranked bullpen, which means the manager is leaving the starters in too long. No decision by the manager is a good one these days.
We largely ignored the Pirates perspective yesterday because we know what the curb appeal of this team is in the market. Truth be told, the Pirates have been scoring in bunches as of late by posting at least six runs in four of their last six games. Unlike the Cards, the Pirates likely can't wait to get to the park today. Pittsburgh will send Wil Crowe out to the mound today and we doubt his 0-4 record will do much to sway this market despite the Bucs going off last night in the opener. While Crowe hasn't been much to crow about this season, he does at least sport an xERA that is 1.40 points lower than his surface number. Like we wrote about Chad Kuhl and Carlos Martinez yesterday, there is very little under the hood that would distinguish Crowe from Kim, which again is the point. You are paying a huge premium to back Kim and the Cards in a 50/50 proposition. That 8-2 final last night flattered the Cardinals, as the Pirates could have hung a crooked number in the first if not for some bad luck. Maybe the Red Birds get this runaway train back on the tracks, but paying a price like this to find out is why sportsbooks are always in the black.
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Pittsburgh +153 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 3.06)